Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 Rangers Project

Before we get started with the good stuff, two quick notes:

(1)  How 'bout them Rangers?  11 Wins in a row!  They're really looking good.

(2)  I feel the need to pimp a cool contest over at Auto-Matic for the People.  Go check it out.  Just don't win.  I want to win.

Now on to the regularly scheduled content:

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm working on a bit of a card collecting project this year.

It all started back before even spring training this year, when my son (the peanut) was born.  This is our first kiddo, and there's just nothing that prepares you for what the experience and emotions are like.  One sort of strange after effect of the new arrival has been a resurgent interest in baseball on my part.

Now, I've been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember.  Going to a couple of Rangers games with my grandfather was always a highlight of the summer.  I also played the requisite little league ball, but once the opposition figured out how to throw a curveball....that was it for me.  All that said, I've never been really fanatical about it.  I've enjoyed the game, but never really dove very deep.

That changed this year.  

Between the peanut's "Field of Dreams" like stirring of my inner baseball fan, the Rangers success, and reading a book that really helped to improve my baseball watching skills (that'll be another post) , I've become quite the obsessive Ranger fan; much to the chagrin of the boss lady, quoth the wife: "Its on EVERY night???"

Sometime after spring training, I came across an article on the Through the Mail Autograph hobby.  I thought, "How cool would it be to one day give the peanut an autographed baseball card for every 2010 Texas Ranger; his inaugural baseball season?" 

I talked about the idea with some friends (and the boss lady too), and everyone seemed to think it was a cool idea, so I went about getting my hands on some current Rangers cards and put them to the mail.  At this point, I've got a handful of TTM packages out (Josh Hamilton, CJ Wilson, and Salty).  None have come back yet (well...none successfully), so I'm holding out hope on those.

In the meantime, I felt the need to make some progress, and with the "old junk" auctions fattening up my PayPal account, I've gone out to procure some autos on the Ebay.  

Here's what I've got so far:

The Dutch Oven.  He's been hurt a ton this year, but his performances have been strong enough to convince me that this guy is the real deal.  I can't wait for him to get back on the mount.

Jules had a rough start to the season, but he seems to have figured it out.  I'm not sure what he's doing differently, but man it sure feels good to see him hitting the ball again.

One of the advantages to having taken a long hiatus from baseball cards is that some of the stuff that is old-hat and trite to you guys is still pretty new and cool to me, plus it can be hand on the hella cheap.  Manufactured Patch Autos is one such example.  I think these things are really cool, and I'm happy to have a few in my collection.

Frankly, I hate this picture, this picture is about 50% of the reason that I've not paid for a single Chicle pack.  I don't think it looks anything like Neftali, but I love the on-card I'm not going to gripe. 

I did send one TTM package to Ian, and it came back with a crummy pre-printed auto on it.  Between that and his performance at the plate this year, he's on my crap list.  I did get a nice Ginter auto on the cheap though (camera's dead, so no picture) I can check him off my list.

I don't suspect that I'll be completing this project anytime soon, and frankly, I'm not in any real hurry.  There will certainly be folks that suit up for the Rangers late in the season, and I'll need to pick up autos for them.

Who knows, maybe I'll need a signature from this guy to complete my project.  A boy can dream, right?

 Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stack 'o Junk

Wow, you’ve managed to come back for more Vienna Sausage…..I’m honored.

Like most young American boys, I was really into baseball cards when I was a kid, and I suspect that those of us that keep interest in this hobby as adults really do it in part because we’re trying to hold on to a part of that inner 12 year old who really thought baseball cards were something magical.
I’ve recently been on a bit of an Ebay selling binge.  The big boss lady only has so much tolerance for my “junk” in “her” house, so every now and then I sell off “old junk” and end up acquiring “new junk”.  My most recent “old junk” sale has left me with a positive cash flow in the old PayPal account, and silly Ebay auctions have been calling my name.
Most of my purchases have been towards my 2010 Rangers Autograph Project, but that’s another post.
This post is about another purchase.  A purchase that got my inner 12 year old lit up with excitement.  It got delivered yesterday, and I’ve been giddy ever since. 

Drum roll please……..I bought not one, not two, not three, but four, yes four whole boxes of 1992 Topps Stadium Club Series 3.   (They were less than $10 each after shipping….I couldn’t resist)

I’m sure you’re saying to yourself….1992 Topps?  Junk wax?  That crap is worthless!

Nay nay dear reader.  It’s priceless. 

In my mind, these are some of the best looking cards ever produced.  The full-bleed presentation and photography is spectacular, and the action shots are as good as they come.  If every card produced by Topps today was this beautiful, I’d be a poor poor man.  I can’t resist this stuff.

Here are a few of my favorites from what I've opened so far.....

Rickey Henderson...the speed demon himself....I'd like to think he's stealing a base here. 
I love the full stretch shots of pitchers in action.  It really demonstrates the contortions required to throw a ball....

How can you not love the Back to the Future Part 2 glasses?  I mean really.  Who didn't own a pair of these things.

And the cheat, back in his less Hulkish days.  I love the cloud of dust.   There was a time when this guy was fast....who knew he'd change so much.
And the greatness himself.

The fronts of these cards are just stunning, but the backs are cool as hell too. 

They've rolled out the Baseball Analysis and Reporting System (BARS) stats on the back, providing you with detail on what Rickey's average looks like in different areas of the plate, and they top it off with a look at the player's rookie card.  How can you not love it?

All this wax has left me in something of a conundrum.  I can’t decide what I’m going to do with it all.  I think I’ll probably keep opening until I can manage to put together a complete set, then figure out what to do with the rest of it.  Selling back a box or two is an option to recoup costs, but I’m not sure that’s what I want to do, it’s not like I can sell them for much.

What do you think dear reader?  Any good ideas about what to do with all of this wax?


A blog.

Let’s see what our friends over at Wikipedia have to say about these….blogs.

“A blog (a portmanteau of the term "web log") is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (Art blog), photographs (photoblog), videos (Video blogging), music (MP3 blog), and audio (podcasting). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts.

As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112,000,000 blogs.”

I guess this is me throwing my hat in the ring with the literally hundreds of millions of folks out there doing this….blog….thing.  Full disclosure….I’ve had my hands in blogs before, but those were mostly personal/collaborative projects that weren’t really intended for general consumption…this thing on the other hand, is likely not fit for consumption by anyone, anytime, anyplace….let’s call it the Vienna Sausage of blogs.  Those other blogs have always run out of gas about a month in, this time though, it’s different, we have a theme, a topic, a goal….baseball, and the little chits of cardboard that help bring us all closer to the greatest of games. 

After spending about two months or so trolling around other folks’ card blogs, it became evident that the best way to get a hook into this community was to start a blog of my own.  So….here goes nothing.
I guess a little introduction is probably in order. 

Name: Babbaloie.  It’s a name that I’ve run around with since I was about 12, and probably the closest thing to a nickname I’ve ever had. 

Age:  30.  It’s the new 20 right?  It’s that age where the adult in you really begins to start shouting down the kid more than ever before…I’m doing my best to take that guy and cinch him up to a gurney Hannibal Lecter-style.  I like that kid better.

Home:  Dallas, Texas.  I’m a native Texan and a completely insufferable fan of the Cowboys, Mavs, Rangers, and Texas Tech.  I’m an admittedly fair-weather Stars fan who finds hockey more or less confusing and without merit.

Co-habitants:  Two.  There’s the big boss lady, she keeps me in check and makes me laugh.  We’ve also got the peanut.  This whole baseball obsession is really his fault.  I think it’s a Field of Dreams thing.

Thoughts on the Designated Hitter Rule:  Interleague play has reminded me why the DH is really a gift from the good Lord.  Watching CJ Wilson try and swing a bat is sort of like having teeth pulled.  Give me a DH any day of the week.  Let those pitcher types focus on what they’re good at.

What I like about baseball cards:  They bring me closer to the game.  There’s nothing more satisfying for me than watching the Rangers play the Astros, hearing Josh Lewynn comment on some no-name rookie and coming to the realization that ‘Hey, I know that name, I’ve got his 2008 Bowman Prospect Card!’.  I love cards with good action shots, particularly ones that seem to capture the brief moments of intensity in an otherwise mellow game.

What do I collect:  R&R.  Rangers and rookies.  I’ve always loved the Texas Rangers, and I’ve been a big fan of rookie/prospect cards for a long time.  The 2010 Bowman set has really reignited my love for the prospect game.

Goals for the blog:  Community.  As a new dad, I don’t have time to go spend hours over at the card shop sitting around shooting the breeze, and it seems that the card blog can, in many ways, fill in the community side of the card collecting hobby.  I hope that you’ll read the blog and comment.  I hope to make you laugh, and maybe we can trade some cards too.  Everyone loves mail.

I think that’s good for now.  My hope is to post frequently, but not obsessively.  I don’t have a scanner (and I don’t suspect that I’ll be getting one soon), so I’ll need to rig up some sort of ghetto card photography mechanism so you’re not just stuck with words all the time.  Thanks for reading.  See you around.